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Trail running training in the city

Trail running training in the city

Do you live and work in the city? Are you looking to prepare for a trail run? Even with busy working weeks, you can define a suitable training plan. Here's our advice for planning and organizing your trail running training well. A few exercises on the stairs will also help you prepare physically.


Short intense sessions before breakfast

During the week, your training sessions can be short (1 to 1 1/2 hours). However, they must be intense. This means that your heart rate must rise significantly. This is what is known as anaerobic effort. You are therefore going to work on power and muscle strengthening.

The best time to work on your body is in the morning before breakfast and your working day.

It is better to go for short runs several times a week than to do one long trail run at the weekend.

A hilly route to imitate the mountains

Choose a route that is as hilly as possible. Run fast uphill and recover in the descents. This is similar to an interval or fartlek exercise. It increases the intensity of your session.
And it will always put a climb or two under your belt!

How should I organize my trail running preparation session?

Here's a sample session. Feel free to vary the lengths, routes, and exercises so that you don't lose the pleasure of running.

  • Warm-up: (15 to 20¬†minutes) jogging and a few light stretches
  • Intensity: (30 to 45¬†minutes) do a series of fast ascents and descents. Also do exercises on the stairs. Keep up a fast pace!
  • End of session: stretch while you are warm. Keep hydrated to prevent sore muscles.

How many sessions should I do during the week?

Finding it hard to plan your race training? Here is how many sessions to plan depending on your goals:

  • Short trail, 10¬†km to 25¬†km: 2¬†sessions during the week + 2 to 3¬†hours at the weekend
  • Long trail of around 50¬†km: 3¬†sessions + 4 to 5¬†hours at the weekend
  • Ultra-Trail: plan 3 to 4¬†sessions during the week and a long to very long distance at the weekend.


Running on the stairs is a good way to work on strength. We recommend the following exercises:

  • Run up, touching every step. Use a forefoot strike. Use a more bouncy stride and lift your knees.
  • Repeat the exercise, touching every other step. You are going to work on your strength.
  • Jump up the steps 3 by 3 with your feet together, landing on your forefeet.
  • Alternate power hiking (fast walking) and running

During these exercises, you should run faster than during competitions, while remaining in your comfort zone. Remember to come back down slowly to recover.


Take advantage of the weekends to get away from the city and rediscover running in nature. Go out on a trail running over a long distance depending on your goals. It can last 2 to 5 hours or even more for ultra-runners.

Work on your endurance with anaerobic effort as a priority. You should therefore run rather slowly without being out of breath.

It is therefore entirely possible to train for trail running when you live in the city. Your training plan should alternate short sessions during the week and a long run in nature at the weekend. You will therefore be well prepared, whether you are keeping your race number for an urban trail or a mountain race.

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